Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares

In 1982 the Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares (“National Museum of Popular Cultures”) was founded by Guillermo Bonfil Batalla, a Mexican ethnologist, and anthropologist who championed research in ethnology as a necessary component for the transformation of the social structure of a country; Bonfil envisioned the Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares as a forum for diversity where intercultural dialogue could be promoted through knowledge, acknowledgment, and respect for cultural pluralism and diversity. Its main objective is to document, promote, and stimulate initiatives by creators within the popular cultures of Mexico, in the rural and urban areas of the country, through expositions and other artistic and cultural activities.

This museum dedicated to promoting Mexico’s cultural and ethnic diversity is located on a beautiful street shaded by leafy trees in the center of Coyoacán in a charming one-story house that’s extravagant in its melon-colored appearance. The Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares doesn’t have a permanent collection, because they have chosen to offer temporary exhibitions related to popular and folkloric artistic and cultural tendencies from various regions of Mexico, with the understanding that his kind of popular form of expression that comes from rural and urban areas in the country is a constantly changing expression that shouldn’t be limited to a single form in a specific time.

There are however some objects that have been in the museum for a long time, like the Cuezcomate, which is a word in Nahuatl (the language of the Aztecs) that means bread or grain protector, this sculpture is a replica of a mesoamerican construction made of clay and palm leaves and utilized to store corn. The “Tree of Life” sculpture has also been at the museum on display for some time, and is a 5-meter tall sculpture made of clay created by José Alfonso Soteno Fernández in 1992 in the town of Metepec in the neighboring Estado de Mexico, the Tree of Life is a recurring theme in many cultures around the world since the times of antiquity, and this one displayed at the museum of popular cultures shows another one of its interpretations.

The Día de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead”) in November is a holiday that’s celebrated extravagantly at this museum, one can find colorful and extravagant altars and works of art commissioned by the museum to different folkloric and popular artists from the country. The Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares keeps performing the dignified work of preserving the culture and artwork of artists and communities that can get lost in this fast-changing society.


  • No comments yet.
  • Add a comment